Every year, the MLB season wraps up with the World Series, the best of seven-game series where the champions of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL) face off. The team who wins the best of seven series becomes the World Series champions, although, that is not the only title that can be won.
The Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player Award, as it was renamed in 2017, is another honor in the world of baseball. The award was first given in 1955 to Johnny Podres, a pitcher for the Dodgers. When the award was first given, it was distributed by the editors of Sport Magazine. Now, a much larger pool of individuals have a say in who takes home the title. The recipient of the World Series MVP award is decided in a collaboration of fans who vote, members of the media and MLB officials.
Read below for a list of past World Series MVPs.
In recent years, two shortstops, Jeremy Peña of the Houston Astros and Corey Seager of the Dodgers took home the MVP award. The World Series of 2020, 2021 and 2022 all went to six games.
2022: Jeremy Peña, Houston Astros, Shortstop
2021: Jorge Soler, Atlanta Braves, Outfielder
2020: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers, Shortstop
The Giants had three World Series wins during this time period, with their first in 2010, a second in 2012 and a third in 2014.
Overall, the MVP recipients of this time played all different positions. The pool of winners included pitchers, outfielders, third basemen, a first baseman, a catcher, a designated hitter and a shortstop.
2019: Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals, Pitcher
2018: Steve Pearce, Boston Red Sox, First baseman
2017: George Springer, Houston Astros, Outfielder
2016: Ben Zobrist, Chicago Cubs, Outfielder
2015: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals, Catcher
2014: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants, Pitcher
2013: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox, Designated Hitter
2012: Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants, Third baseman
2011: David Freese, St. Louis Cardinals, Third baseman
2010: Edgar Renteria, San Francisco Giants, Shortstop
The 2001 World Series marked the first time that two players were named World Series MVPs. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling both pitched during the 2001 World Series, leading to the Diamondbacks defeat of the Yankees. The two pitchers were named co-MVPs that year.
2009: Hideki Matsui, New York Yankees, Designated hitter
2008: Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies, Starting pitcher
2007: Mike Lowell, Boston Red Sox, Third baseman
2006: David Eckstein, St. Louis Cardinals, Shortstop
2005: Jermaine Dye, Chicago White Sox, Outfielder
2004: Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox, Outfielder
2003: Josh Beckett, Florida Marlins, Starting pitcher
2002: Troy Glaus, Anaheim Angels, Third baseman
2001: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, Arizona Diamondbacks, Starting pitchers
2000: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, Shortstop
MLB players began going on strike in the middle of August during the 1994 season. The strike went through the post-season, leading the World Series to be canceled. This was the second time in MLB history that the World Series was canceled, but the first time and only time since the MVP award started being distributed.
During the 90s, the pitchers were the shining stars, with six MVP awards given to players in that position.
1999: Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees, Relief pitcher
1998: Scott Brosius, New York Yankees, Third baseman
1997: Livan Hernandez, Florida Marlins, Pitcher
1996: John Wetteland, New York Yankees, Relief pitcher
1995: Tom Glavine, Atlanta Braves, Pitcher
1994: No World Series
1993: Paul Monitor, Toronto Blue Jays, DH/1B/3B
1992: Pat Borders, Toronto Blue Jays, Catcher
1991: Jack Morris, Minnesota Twins, Starting pitcher
1990: Jose Rijo, Cincinnati Reds, Pitcher
Mainly pitchers and catchers were named MVPs of the 80s. Three catchers and four pitchers made up the bunch. Mike Schmidt, a third baseman, Alan Trammell, a shortstop, and Ray Knight, a third baseman, made up the rest of the winners.
1989: Dave Stewart, Oakland Athletics, Pitcher
1988: Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pitcher
1987: Frank Viola, Minnesota Twins, Pitcher
1986: Ray Knight, New York Mets, Third baseman
1985: Bret Saberhagen, Kansas City Royals, Pitcher
1984: Alan Trammell, Detroit Tigers, Shortstop
1983: Rick Dempsey, Baltimore Orioles, Catcher
1982: Darrell Porter, St. Louis Cardinals, Catcher
1981: Steve Yeager, Los Angeles Dodgers, Catcher
1980: Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies, Third baseman
For a good portion of the 70s, the Athletics dominated the MLB, with three World Series appearances and wins in a row. They first won in 1972, when Gene Tenace, a catcher, was awarded the MVP. Then in 1972, they won again, this time awarding Reggie Jackson, an outfielder, the award. Jackson won the award again a few years later, in 1977 while he was playing on the Yankees.
In 1974, the Athletics won their third World Series in a row, with Rollie Fingers, a relief pitcher earning the MVP.
1979: Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh Pirates, First baseman
1978: Bucky Dent, New York Yankees, Shortstop
1977: Reggie Jackson, New York Yankees, Outfielder
1976: Johnny Bench, Cincinnati Reds, Catcher
1975: Pete Rose, Cincinnati Reds, Third baseman
1974: Rollie Fingers, Oakland Athletics, Relief pitcher
1973: Reggie Jackson, Oakland Athletics, Outfielder
1972: Gene Tenace, Oakland Athletics, Catcher
1971: Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates, Outfielder
1970: Brooks Robinson, Baltimore Orioles, Third baseman
For the large majority of winners, they are members of the winning team. Although, in 1960, the MVP went to Bobby Richardson of the New York Yankees, who lost the series. This was the only time in the award’s history that the title went to a player on the losing team.
1969: Donn Clendenon, New York Mets, First Baseman
1968: Mickey Lolich, Detroit Tigers, Pitcher
1967: Bob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals, Pitcher
1966: Frank Robinson, Baltimore Orioles, Outfielder
1965: Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pitcher
1964: Bob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals, Pitcher
1963: Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pitcher
1962: Ralph Terry, New York Yankees, Pitcher
1961: Whitey Ford, New York Yankees, Pitcher
1960: Bobby Richardson, New York Yankees, Second baseman
The 1955 World Series saw the start of the World Series MVP. The first player to take home the award was Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres. The Dodgers were able to beat the Yankees for the World Series title that year.
1959: Larry Sherry, Los Angeles Dodgers, Relief pitcher
1958: Bob Turley, New York Yankees, Pitcher
1957: Lew Burdette, Milwaukee Braves, Pitcher
1956: Don Larsen, New York Yankees, Pitcher
1955: Johnny Podres, Brooklyn Dodgers, Pitcher